In Sweden, doctors caught performing virginity tests on girls

SWEDEN (TIP): An undercover investigation has revealed doctors in Sweden are performing virginity tests on teenage girls against their will. Footage shot by reporters for the Swedish current affairs program ‘Kalla Fakta’ (Cold Fact) showed doctors across the country agreeing to perform illegal tests for religious families to determine if their daughters had had sex.

Reporters approached doctors in cities across Sweden and asked them whether they would be willing to carry out the examinations. Two undercover journalists posed as an aunt and her 17-year-old niece. The footage shows the aunt asking one doctor to perform the test and write out a “virginity certificate” despite the niece protesting she does not want one. Under Swedish law, doctors are to report a child to either social services or the police if they believe he or she is “in need of protection” by social welfare authorities. One of the doctors insists on the footage that she has done “hundreds” of virginity tests -including on children.

Human rights groups have condemned the practice. Liesl Gerntholtz, of the Human Rights Watch told a British daily: “In a country that internationally has played a leading role in protecting women’s rights, it was almost unthinkable to me that this would be happening in a country like Sweden.” One of the victims, who was too scared to reveal her identity, spoke to the programme using an actress’ voice. “Sara” said she was forced to get engaged to her cousin when she was just 13 by her deeply Christian family and her parents made her undergo a virginity test at 15.

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